Superannuation not so super for women

A senate inquiry into Women’s Economic Security in Retirement has found that men on average retire with double the superannuation savings of women. With the gender pay gap at an all time high of 18.8%, it comes as no surprise that women’s futures are also threatened by gender bias.

Research done by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency found that the superannuation gap between the savings of men and women is 46.6% on average. To put it in monetary terms, the average Australian man retires with $197,054 while the average woman retires with just $104,734. The inquiry also found that one in three women retire without any superannuation at all.

Credit: SocialTalent

Credit: SocialTalent

The inquiry found that Australia needs to seriously address workplace inequality and produced a report with nineteen recommendations, which would bridge the divide between men and women’s retirement security if implemented.

As the report notes, the reasons for the divide are complex and not remedied easily. Some contributing factors are the gender pay gap, tax arrangements that disproportionately benefit higher-paid men, women’s higher rate of unpaid caring (and taking time off work to do so), and the fact that women are more likely to work part time. Lower financial literacy is also an issue for women wanting to maximise their superannuation savings. As the committee notes, “Government, business, and individuals have a role to play in achieving women’s full participation in our workplaces.”